Charter Schools Lead The Way In Childcare Accommodations

This week we read a promising article by The Atlantic on charter schools in the US. The Knowledge Is Power Program, (KIPP), is a nationwide charter school that is providing teachers with new benefits such as daycare, preferential admission, flexible hours and you guessed it, better nursing accommodations. After seeing a 36% turn over rate in teaching staff, KIPP decided they needed to implement family friendly policies in order to retain their teachers and the community atmosphere.

An estimated 75% of all teachers nationwide are female, and many of them are of childbearing age, trying to balance parenting with work. In 2006, this balancing act got a little easier for teachers at KIPP in Houston. After high demand from teachers, KIPP opened it’s first daycare center, called KIPP SHINE. Since then, KIPP SHINE has been allowing teachers like Noelle King to return to work just 8 weeks after having their babies. With easy access to the daycare center down the stairs working mothers can pop in to nurse their children whenever needed or utilize the specially designed lactation rooms to pump.

“‘I feel lucky to be able to drop him off right downstairs,” King said, noting it made the return to work after maternity leave less fraught. “There wasn’t very much contemplation or hesitation or fear.’”

This effort to increase breast-feeding and nursing accommodations for women is a long one; last week we learned of an incidence in Florida’s Miami Dade school district,  where Monica Howell, a teacher, was refused time to pump breast-milk for her daughter during the school day. Being that Maimi Dade is the 4th largest school district in the nation, Howell assumed she would be protected under the federal law, Break Time For Nursing Mothers. Unfortunately she was wrong and 12 million salaried employees like herself are left unprotected under the mandate.

We hope that with schools like KIPP setting a precedent for supporting breastfeeding mothers that it is only a matter of time until other schools follow suit.

To read the full article in The Atlantic click here: http://theatln.tc/1wQ0vhf

Noelle King with her son Colin Noelle King with her son Colin